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The Profound Connection Between Wellbeing and Human Sustainability

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It comes as no surprise that wellbeing has taken centre stage in recent years in the lives of individuals the world over. A recent study conducted by Deloitte revealed that a staggering 74% of the workforce prioritises their wellbeing above career progression. This shift in focus signals a growing recognition of the importance of personal health and happiness in the pursuit of a fulfilling life. However, a deeper analysis of the study’s findings reveals a more profound connection – or what should be recognised as a profound connection – between wellbeing and human sustainability.

The statistics from the study paint a concerning picture of the challenges faced by modern workers. A significant 74% of individuals find it challenging to unplug from work or find time for leisure activities, indicating a lack of balance between work and personal life. Even more distressing is the fact that only 42% feel they have sufficient time to spend with their loved ones. This sense of disconnect from family and loved ones can have detrimental effects on one’s mental and emotional wellbeing.

Moreover, the study found that merely 45% of the respondents manage to get the recommended seven hours of sleep each night. Sleep deprivation is closely linked to a myriad of health issues, including reduced cognitive function, increased stress levels, and a weakened immune system. Furthermore, only 47% of individuals take brief pauses during their workday, which can lead to burnout and decreased productivity. Similarly, incorporating movement and exercise into daily routines is practiced by only 48% of the respondents, highlighting the lack of emphasis on physical wellbeing in the modern lifestyle.

The key takeaway from these findings is that these challenges cannot be effectively addressed with mere benefits or superficial solutions. Instead, a more holistic approach is required, one that tackles the root causes of poor wellbeing. This is where the concept of human sustainability comes into play.

Human sustainability can be understood as the endeavour to create an environment that nurtures and supports the wellbeing of individuals in a manner that is enduring and self-sustaining. It goes beyond the traditional notion of wellbeing and encompasses a broader perspective that includes personal, social, and environmental dimensions. Human sustainability aims to create a harmonious balance between the needs of individuals, the community, and the planet.

The transition from traditional wellbeing to human sustainability represents a paradigm shift in how we approach life and work. It requires organisations to recognise the interdependence between employee wellbeing and sustainable business practices. When employees are healthy, happy, and fulfilled, they are more engaged and productive. On the other hand, businesses that prioritise sustainability, both in terms of social responsibility and environmental stewardship, tend to attract and retain talent more effectively.

One of the fundamental aspects of human sustainability is the cultivation of a culture that values work-life integration. Instead of viewing work and personal life as conflicting entities, individuals should be encouraged to strike a balance that allows them to thrive in both. This can be achieved through flexible work arrangements, supportive policies, and fostering a culture that values downtime and leisure time.

Additionally, organisations need to invest in programmes that promote physical and mental wellbeing. Providing access to wellness facilities, offering mindfulness and meditation sessions are important, however, encouraging flexible working and regular breaks during work hours can significantly contribute to employee satisfaction and overall productivity.

Furthermore, human sustainability entails nurturing a sense of purpose and meaning in the workplace. Employees who feel a strong connection to their organisation’s mission and values are more likely to be motivated and committed to their work. This can be achieved by fostering a positive and inclusive work environment that recognises and celebrates the diverse contributions of all employees.

The increasing emphasis on wellbeing in the modern world has paved the way for a deeper understanding of the concept of human sustainability. By recognising the intrinsic link between employee wellbeing and sustainable business practices, organisations can create a virtuous cycle that benefits individuals, the business, and the larger community.

Only by embracing the recognition and resolution of the underlying factors contributing to poor wellbeing can we achieve flourishing and resilient organisations, and by shifting away from a limited perspective on health and wellness and instead adopting a more comprehensive, holistic approach that prioritises human-driven leadership, we can take the evolutionary next step to fostering a happier, more productive and sustainable workplace. This embodies the true essence of wellbeing, now and for generations to come.

World Wellbeing Week 2024

June 24 – June 30

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